Archive for the ‘Quick Mish-Mash’ Category

The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) – Forbes

In Quick Mish-Mash on May 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

I get tired of hearing – no, seeing – the tweets and posts that offer profound wisdom and deep insight about success, happiness, and the state of the world -using 140 characters or a few spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff words.

This article is brief – but it is brief not because of a limitation on characters, or a limitation on analysis – it is brief because someone has put in the effort to think about the subject and to think about how to present it.

Well that’s my opinion, what do you think.

The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) – Forbes.

The Clock

In Quick Mish-Mash on April 2, 2012 at 12:16 am

The Clock.

It is an extraordinary work from artist Christian Marclay.

Yet, it is just what it name indicates … A Clock!

It is on show right now at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art).

And rather than prattling about it, here is a piece from the BBC .

This is a quick re-ignition of mishmashmax.

Hopefully I can get my brain back into gear and keep it alight

Fail to Learn, Learn to Fail.

In General Mish-Mash, Quick Mish-Mash on January 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Have you ever made a donation to assist the development of third world countries?

Often the donations are about infrastructure development – aimed at building a future more secure, more palatable, and more sustainable.

You know the old axiom – give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, give him a fishing pole and you feed him forever. (That’s not quite it, I know but you know what I mean.)

I often wonder whether it really works that way.

If it does, then surely we must be closing the gaps between the unsustainable and the sustainable – maybe even between the third and first worlds.

But the gaps don’t seem to be closing – we readily attribute this fact to multiple reasons. Continued increases in population, changes in climate, increased consumption by the first world, and – possibly the most popular one – corruption in 3rd world leadership.

It seems to me the gaps are widening rather than narrowing.

Perhaps one cause could be … failures in the systems & mechanisms used to devise, deliver, and evaluate development programs.

That is,  failures in the ways we try to help.

Now, you should know that I have no issue with the concept of failure – I do not see failure as something negative, I don’t think it is necessarily a pejorative term … except when it applies to the failure to learn from failure.

And this happens so often – primarily because we (and enterprises are especially deft at this this) tend to shove failure into the background. Rarely do we open up failure for examination and edification. And when we do, it is for the purpose of penalising rather than learning.

I thought this was a really insightful talk by David Damberger from Engineers Without Borders. For me it highlighted two things that I think are problematic in most enterprises:

1. Too much work is done to please the wrong people (in this case donors rather than those who are meant to benefit from initiatives). This creates a system that can’t deliver what is needed to the people who matter.

2. There is not enough made of the constructive side to failure (and too much emphasis placed on failure as reason for penalty rather than an opportunity – God knows how Thomas Edison would respond under the prevailing attitude to failure).

It may also be worth having a look at the website – Admitting Failure. This site was devised and created by Engineers Without Borders Canada.

1971 – Ping Pong Diplomacy

In General Mish-Mash, Quick Mish-Mash, Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

In 1971 the term Ping Pong Diplomacy (or Table Tennis Diplomacy) was coined. At the centre of one of the key events that led to this term was a US Table Tennis player by the name of Glenn Cowan – evidence has emerged that this could in fact be a hybrid name taken from 2 influential Australian table tennis players from Penrith NSW.

The evidence is in a film recently excavated from official archives. The film is from 1971 and was taken at the Cowan residence in Penrith. To be precise: 138 Station Street, Penrith – unfortunately this heritage location has been destroyed and is now the carpark for a shopping centre called Nepean Square.

In this film you’ll see some of the key Penrith-based personnel involved in the diplomatic effort … late in the film a curious interloper drops in to disrupt proceedings.

The film features Glen (one “n” only) Davidson and  Max Cowan (the curious interloper is Phil Cowan) – and so the legend of Glenn (extra “n” added by the CIA) Cowan. There is also Mick Talve (I think he prefers Michael these days) and Noel Coughlan both of whose contribution to this this pivotal event in Sino-American relations are clearly of such importance it remains a closely guarded secret to this day.

(It is left to the viewer to determine the order appearance.)

Now, 1971 was year full of events – a list too long and important for legitimate truncation. But this rare and historical footage is of one of the most seminal events of that year.

Less than a year after this game Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon were shaking hands in Beijing.

What more can I say …

Just testing … though possibly politically incorrect!!!

In General Mish-Mash, Quick Mish-Mash on October 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I am just needing to test my connections …  but I do like this set of perceptions of the demography of Sydney. Originally published by Tharunka.

Ethnic & Cultural Profiles of Sydney

Lightning strikes …

In Quick Mish-Mash on September 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

A dramatic snap …

It looks like the lightning struck the Eiffel Tower, but Bertrand Kulik, the amateur photographer who captured this moment, says the lightning bolt was behind the tower.


The power of simple arithmetic …

In General Mish-Mash, Quick Mish-Mash on September 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Just roaming around YouTube the other day, I came across this video from Albert Bartlett. Whoever posted it on YouTube gave it the title “The Most IMPORTANT video You’ll Ever See”. My immediate thought was that it would likely be rubbish. But then I saw the lead comment about the video:

2 million views for an old codger giving a lecture about arithmetic?
What’s going on?

Since that comment was made in June 2007, it is now at 2.9 million views.

Not gigantic in YouTube world but huge for the intersection of old codger world & arithmetic world.

The comment and the increasing number of views, attracted my attention and caused me to hit play.

It is a lecture, but it is not really about arithmetic. The title is:

Arithmetic, Population, & Energy

It is more about how we could apply simple arithmetic methods to examine the sustainability of our resources … and how to simply interpret the logic of statements made about sustainability and resource usage.

In total, the lecture is a little over an hour long and is broken into 8 parts. Unfortunately the parts aren’t really modular or self-contained. Once I started I just had to keep going. Many don’t – as can be determined by the viewing figures for subsequent parts.

Part 2 has had only around 750k views and Part 8 is slightly below 500k views.

So, if you start viewing it seems there is only about a 25% chance you’ll find it interesting enough to finish Part 1 and start Part 2. And only about 1 in 6 seem to make it through to Part 8.

So, don’t despair if it is not of interest. If Part 1 piques your interest here is the link to Part2. And from there you will easily find the rest.

Albert Bartlett is a Professor of Physics at University of Colorado, Boulder.

Bangers, Mash & Beer!!!

In Quick Mish-Mash, Semi-Paranoic Mish-mash on July 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Saturday lunch is usually a bit of a budget lunch. Recently we’ve found ourselves at the AB Hotel in Glebe for lunch a couple of times. Their specials are reasonable quality, reasonable price in good surrounds, not too far from home, easy parking – $2.20 per hour metered parking.

Great!! The AB is the chosen venue for today’s lunch.

Chris orders Pho and she wants to try their dumplings (on special) … I decide to go for an old pub favourite – Bangers & Mash.

Our calculations have the food at a total of $26 for the 3 dishes!!

I order a beer. I am not a beer afficionado and I spotted a brand that was not familiar to me. That was what I would try with my lunch!

The barman gets a branded glass, a goblet/chalice style glass, pours the beer – it looks good, really good, the head perfectly complementary to the beautiful tone of the beer.  It could have been a bigger glass but … hey!

It looked magnificent and I was already thinking about having another.

The barman turns to enter our orders into the POS terminal, he turns back announcing …

“That’ll be $52!”
“Whaaaaaat! … But, …”
“It’s the beer.” he casually informs us. “It’s 26 bucks.”

We gag.

Budget meal! Ha!

A second beer with lunch? No hope!!!

A single goblet of beer – exactly doubled the cost of our meal for 2.

By far the most expensive beer I have ever had!

In London in 2004, I had a beer that was 10 quid – but that was a pint!!

This one was closer in size to a middie.

This beer is one of only 7 beer brands world-wide that can call itself a Trappist beer. It is produced within the boundaries of a Trappist Monastery, by Trappist monks. Fantastic …

This one is a Monastery in Belgium.

To qualify as a Trappist beer. The Monastery must be self-sustaning and their products (including beer) are to be sold only to help the monastery and good causes.

This was a relief to find out. I am all for good causes and self-sustaining ventures.

But I doubt the publican relinquished his share of the $26 to the Trappist order, or any other order for that matter.

Anyway the beer that so elegantly accompanied my bangers ‘n’ mash was Chimay Draught. The brewery is inside Scourmont Abbey in the Belgian town of Chimay.

I sipped it delicately, savoured every drop, and made sure it lasted through the meal. God forbid what would have happened if I had to have a second!!!

Here is where it is made:

Scourmont Abbey - Chimay - Belgium

Here is the pub that sells it (though lose the reindeer …)

AB Hotel - Cnr Glebe Point Rd & Bridge Rd, Glebe

And here is the beer …

The beer to wash down my snags

I must say that I was a bit cranky (silently cranky) at the barman who did absolutely nothing to prepare us for the shock … there was certainly no warning, the beer does not appear on a menu, there is no price list, the price of this beer does not appear anywhere in the pub (not that I could find anyway) … and the barman didn’t caution us!!

Failure counts … So do mistakes!!

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Wisdoms, Quick Mish-Mash on June 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I came across this Manifesto a couple of years ago – it was constructed by Bre Pettis & writer Kio Stark. Amazingly they got in done in only 20 minutes – I guess adhering to the manifesto!!